This week, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) voted to ban all alcoholic beverages that contain CBD or THC, starting January 1. The OLCC, which regulates adult-use cannabis as well as alcohol, said they were following the lead of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which banned all CBD-infused alcohol products back in May.
"We've wanted to address the issue of CBD getting into alcohol and because there are a lot of unknowns about the effect of taking CBDs," said OLCC spokesperson Mark Pettinger, The Associated Press reports. "There's very little scientific evidence. People are using them for wellness, but how they interact with other substances, not a lot is known."
OLCC executive director Steve Marks told Oregon Public Broadcasting that while CBD products are “greatly purported for their health effects, there is a lot of concern about particularly the effect of high quantities of CBD on the liver, which is also affected by alcohol.” Marks is likely referring to a recent study by the University of Arkansas, which claimed that CBD caused liver damage to mice. Sadly, this study, which is one of the few pieces of research on the potential toxicity of CBD, is bunk science.
Regardless, the overall lack of conclusive research confirming the safety of weed-infused booze has convinced regulators to ban these products for now. The ban will only apply to alcoholic products, though. All other CBD products, even infused non-alcoholic beverages, are here to stay.
“Grocery stores are licensees to sell alcohol,” Marks explained to OPB. “We’re not going to be looking at their general CBD products. We’re going to be looking only at those that touch alcohol.”
At least one local brewer has already brought an infused beer to local bars. Coalition Brewing made a CBD-infused IPA that gained popularity in the state, but the company has recently gone out of business. Another local brewery tried to market a CBD-infused beer last year, but the FDA shot their plans down. Oregon-based Xylem Cider, which adds FDA-approved terpenes to their alcoholic ciders, may be able to skirt the ban, as they are not specifically adding CBD or THC.
The ban on infused beverages currently only applies to manufactured products, like beers, which means that you can still walk into a bar and order a CBD-infused cocktail — for now. Marks told OPB that his agency is already working toward banning infused cocktails, though.
“We’re considering just outright saying that it’s an adulterant for alcohol, so you wouldn’t just be able to mix the cocktails,” he told OPB. This additional ban, however, may not come to pass for another four months.
In other states, breweries are sticking to non-alcoholic infused beers in order to avoid illegal combinations of booze and bud. In California, one of the West Coast's largest alcohol distributors is now carrying a range of CBD-infused non-alcoholic beers. Infused dry beverages are also now legal in Canada, and major beer conglomerates like Molson Coors are now developing new lines of infused non-alcoholic beers, seltzers, and other products that will debut in the near future.